Tanzania called upon to enact strong anti-tobacco laws
FRIDAY MAY 31 2019
Anti- tobacco campaigners are pushing for the enactment of strong laws that will safeguard the health of Tanzanians and the environment they live in.
The call was made on Friday, May 31, 2019, by the Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum (TTCF) executive director, Ms Lutgard Kagaruki in commemorating the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) aimed to encourage adoption and implementation of strong and comprehensive tobacco control measures.
The theme in this year’s commemoration is “Tobacco and Lung Health.”
In her statement, Ms Kagaruki said this year’s celebration calls for African regional coordinated actions for a full implementation of the FCTC, the only way to improve the health and well-being of people and save lives.
“Tanzania ratified the WHO FCTC in 2007 and agreed that a new FCTC compliant tobacco control law will be enacted, to replace the flawed and outdated Tobacco Products (Regulation) Act, 2003 (TPRA, 2003). However, 10 years have passed, the law is yet to be enacted,” she says in a statement.
She says while Africa has made progress in implementing the WHO FCTC, especially in creating smoke-free environments, Tanzania continues to lag behind its peers.
“Tanzania remains the only East African country without a comprehensive tobacco control law in line with WHO FCTC. While Zanzibar has an effective law, Ethiopia has recently enacted the strongest tobacco control laws on the continent,” she says.
She said according to the Tanzania Steps Survey Report (2012) prepared by the Health ministry, the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and the WHO, 14.1 per cent, people in Tanzania smoke.
The report also say 17.5 per cent and 24.9 per cent of the population is exposed to second smoke in homes and workplaces respectively.
“Tobacco smoke is known to be a major pollutant containing more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of them are known to cause cancer,” she cites report, adding.
“Tobacco is responsible for 17,400 annual deaths, both smokers and non-smokers are affected.”
She said smokers are 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer in lifetime, nonsmokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke are up to 30 per cent in risk of developing lung cancer.
According to her, both maternal and paternal smoking slowed lung growth in children and cause lower respiratory tract illnesses including bronchitis and pneumonia.
But, the WHO says at least 8 million people die annually on tobacco related diseases, with millions others living with lung cancer, tuberculosis, asthma and chronic lung disease caused by tobacco.
WHO’s statement to commemorate WNTD 2019 says in 2017, tobacco killed 3.3 million users and people exposed to second-hand smoke across the world.
They include 1.5 million who died from chronic respiratory diseases, 1.2 million from cancer (tracheal, bronchus and lung) and 600 000 from respiratory infections and tuberculosis.